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Scott Fitzgerald - resusitated or rolling over in his grave?
on August 28, 2015
Normally I peruse a smattering of Amazon reviews to help me decide whether or not to read a book. But Chris Bohjalian gets a free pass on reviews, i.e., I'll read everything he writes without question. So I missed the reviews till after finishing the book, and am eternally grateful I did so. In this case, reading any review beyond "enjoyed this book" is almost certain to ruin the experience. (So, if mine is the first review you've encountered, stop now and simply start reading the book.) Virtually the entire work is a red herring - or is it? I love books that leave the reader wondering what actually happened. What is fiction; what is reality?
Laurel, the social worker protagonist, is an entirely "reasonable" person, or is she? Why would the reader doubt that she's on the right track? I didn't. Then there is the ending, but is the ending the final word on what actually happened? Some readers suggest re-reading the book to determine where things got off track. I didn't do that, but had I done so would have concentrated on what Pamela wanted and why. Why did Pamela want the photos? Is her motivation clarified?
So wonderful to have "The Great Gatsby" revived. I even watched again the 1974 movie version, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. No wonder that movie won an Oscar for best costumes, even if the protagonists didn't even place or show. What would Scott Fitzgerald think of this mélange of two fictional treatments? Do two fictions make a reality?
Suspense - this is what kept me turning pages and looking forward to each opportunity to continue reading. Not the "suspense" one finds in crime thrillers, but the kind that keeps you guessing about what the characters will do next, and what will be the final outcome. This is a riveting read, whether or not the author plays embarrassing tricks on the reader.